Westhampton Beach - NY, April 1st, 2015 - William Floyd High School students enrolled in the Research Program under the direction of Research teacher Victoria D’Ambrosio, braved a chilly spring morning to participate in a seal walk at Cupsogue Beach to observe, gather data and experience an up-close view of nature in our own backyard.
Guided on the seal walk by Dr. Arthur Kopelman, a State University of New York Distinguished Professor and co-founder of the Coastal Research and Education Society of Long Island (CRESLI), students had the opportunity to see a few seals swimming in the waters off of Cupsogue County Park in close proximity to Moriches Inlet. They were also able to observe a hawk and several American oystercatchers (birds).
According to Ms. D’Ambrosio, students set out to observe the amount of seals in and out of the water, record the Beaufort Scale (a measure that relates wind speed to observed conditions), air temperature and cloud coverage. “The idea was to see if there are more or less seals hauled out if the abiotic (non-living conditions) factors are more extreme, which the evidence seems to support,” she said.
“The best way for students to learn how to conduct research is to partake in hands-on experimentation, and determine whether or not the data supports their original thoughts,” added Ms. D’Ambrosio. “These types of excursions lead to enthusiasm and excitement for science research and give students the opportunity to not just conduct experiments but to become research scientists themselves.”
To see some additional photos, please check the William Floyd School District flickr page.